Panthers clinch with win Saturday
By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser
Jemison’s baseball team brought its regular season to an end on April 13 with a doubleheader against region foe West Blocton.
JHS came into the game needing just one win in the two-game series to clinch second place in the area and advance to the first round of the state playoffs. In a game that would be a pitchers’ duel through four innings, the Panthers would finally break open the scoreless game and go on to win, 2-0.
The Panthers will visit Corner for a best-of-three first-round playoff series beginning at 5 p.m. Friday. Games will follow at 7 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday, if needed.
Clay Cunningham and the Jemison defense made short work of visiting West Blocton in the first inning, retiring the Tigers in order.
The Panthers managed two base runners in the bottom half of the first inning when Corbin Bice was hit by a pitch and Jacob Hatch singled to left center field, but neither would make it across the plate.
The Tigers moved a runner into scoring position in the top of the second inning, but with a man on third and and one out, a fly ball to center field would be fielded by Bice, who then rifled the ball home to catcher Craig Martin, who easily made the tag on the Tigers runner to retire the side.
A Daniel Eslinger double to right center field gave the Panthers a man on with only one out in the second, but the Panthers were unable to capitalize and the game remained scoreless.
Both teams exchanged three-up-and-three-down innings through the third inning, while a two-out single for the Panthers’ Cade Hatch garnered nothing to break the scoreless game.
Both teams swapped two-out singles in the fourth inning, but neither resulted in a run.
The Panthers finally broke the scoreless game when a Logan Ray single with one out led to a run on a sacrifice fly to left field by Austin Broadhead, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for the Tigers, but a fly ball to left field was hauled in by Hatch and ended the inning to keep the shutout in tact. Jemison added one more run in the bottom of sixth. A Jacob Hatch single, a Jacob Bates single and Cade Hatch walk loaded the bases for Matt Murphy to drive in Jacob Hatch with a single, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
The Tigers managed two baserunners with two outs in the top half of the seventh, but an infield ground ball brought the game to an end securing the Panthers’ victory 2-0.
Cunningham pitched a complete game shutout including four strikeouts, four walks and five hits.
Jacob Hatch led the Panthers at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two singles.
With the win, the Panthers secured second place in their region and will advance to the first round of the state playoffs, where they will face off against the Corner Yellow Jackets beginning on Friday.